Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Mt. Crested Butte lodging tax proposal finalized and ready for November ballot

“We have a ballot initiative ready to go”

By Kendra Walker

The Mt. Crested Butte Town Council has approved ballot language for the proposed 2.9 percent excise lodging tax, which, if passed by voters in November’s election, is intended to fund affordable housing projects.

During their August 20 meeting, council addressed a public comment letter they received from resident Bob Valentine, who had suggested some revisions to the ballot language, including changing some of the wording and limiting the spending to within Mt. Crested Butte boundaries.

Both mayor Janet Farmer and councilwoman Lauren Daniel had responded to his comments via email. They explained that by not limiting the funds to just Mt. Crested Butte, council would have the ability to move on unforeseen scenarios rather than have jurisdiction restrictions in place, including properties the town owns outside of town limits.

“From my perspective, it did change [Valentine’s] mind about part of the wording,” said Farmer. “He got what [Daniel] was saying and was okay with that.”

Farmer later said, “I really appreciated that he did send that,” as council delayed passing the ballot language earlier this month in order to hear more feedback from the community.

Regarding Valentine’s wording suggestions, “We have to stick with the approved ballot format for the words…” said town attorney Kathleen Fogo on the TABOR guidelines they have to follow. “Those are magic words.”

With the ballot language in place, council will now start developing a list of priorities for affordable housing projects and initiatives for discussion leading up to the November election.

“I think we’ve done our due diligence, and thoroughly talked about this and asked the public to comment on this and I think we’ve done our job,” said councilman Roman Kolodziej.

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